Paradise Divided: The Changes, the Challenges, the Choices for Australia

Paradise Divided: The Changes, the Challenges, the Choices for Australia

Paradise Divided: The Changes, the Challenges, the Choices for Australia

Paradise Divided: The Changes, the Challenges, the Choices for Australia

Synopsis

"Paul Kelly is possibly Australia's most respected writer and commentator on the political and economic scene and he has not published in book form for nearly five years. This collection brings together all his major pieces from the Australian and other sources over that time, grouped thematically and updated in places."

Excerpt

Australia is at the cutting edge of globalisation, which it both celebrates and shuns. The nation is beset by the contradictions of globalisation—a rapid take-up of new technology, an embrace of the Internet, a new economic confidence amid growing personal insecurity, family breakdown, broken trust and complaints that Australia has lost control of its destiny. Australia is a laboratory in which to study the impact of globalisation. With their pragmatic instinct, Australians demanded the advantages of globalisation while their political system soon incorporated its divisive consequences.

For Australia the phenomenon of globalisation coincided with a series of millennium debates about identity. Should Australia become a republic? How can reconciliation with the Aboriginal people be achieved? How does Australia see itself at its centenary as a nation? Can Australia combine a quest for excellence with its common man heritage? After the East Timor crisis, how does Australia interpret the idea of its engagement with Asia?

The two politicians who dominated the 1990s and offered different answers to the issues of globalisation and identity were Paul Keating and John Howard. While the KeatingyyHoward differences were real, they were inflated by personal antagonism. Keating and Howard both supported Australia's economic opening to the world but they had contrasting perspectives on the nation's future.

Australia, in effect, was having two debates: how to define itself and how to relate to the world. The agendas involved . . .

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